Definition of talking-to in US English:



  • A sharp reprimand in which someone is told that they have done wrong.

    ‘they gave Peter a talking-to about solving problems with words, not fists’
    • ‘The look she gave Champignon promised quite a talking-to.’
    • ‘I received a serious talking-to on Friday from a colleague of mine known as Sweet Roslyn - her parents clearly having been enamoured, when she was born, of some of Shakespeare's lighter works.’
    • ‘But you threaten them, and you'd be surprised, sometimes all a guy needs is a good talking-to.’
    • ‘However, the kids were not up for a talking-to, because the more she yelled, the less they listened.’
    • ‘In one episode, normally sweet-natured Aunt Bee (the wonderful Frances Bavier, who won an Emmy for the role) has to give him a stern talking-to for being hypocritical and caught up in appearances.’
    • ‘He gave her a talking-to after dinner, instructing her that words like ‘damn’ and ‘hell’ were only to be used in instances of extreme provocation and that was that.’
    • ‘She embarrassed Walter and Calpurnia called her into the kitchen and gave her a stern talking-to.’
    • ‘Kelly changed the nature of his troublemaking - or at least started thinking about changing it - after a stern talking-to from a Gonzaga priest.’
    • ‘I finished my affair because my sister gave me a serious talking-to and made me see what I was doing.’
    • ‘I remember my science teacher giving me a talking-to after I had received a paper that she had just finished grading.’
    • ‘Personally, I would probably have given him a yellow and a bit of a talking-to, on the grounds that it was the first time in the match that Pritchard had hacked down a streaker.’
    • ‘The adults are only too happy to drop everything they're doing to either help the kids or give them a long, long talking-to when they do something wrong.’
    • ‘I was not above taking Gerald aside and giving him a good talking-to when the occasion called for it - and, under extreme circumstances, I was not averse to doing so in public.’
    • ‘But the city's 1000-plus property developers have come in for more than just a talking-to.’
    • ‘I didn't know what he was offering to do, but I knew it didn't involve giving Jason a stern talking-to.’
    • ‘The bully we mentioned in number 2, who has grown up a lot and become mates with my brother, notices this, and gives the lad a talking-to, and let's be honest, a thump.’
    • ‘But I've also had talking-to's from friends who tell me that A ‘needs’ to go into childcare, that I'm holding her back socially by keeping her at home with me.’
    • ‘Dad was a little less pleased; hey, he's not exactly my biggest fan, so when I trash the van I can expect a little talking-to.’
    • ‘Furthermore, I saw from the first month that she generally gave delinquents no more than a stern talking-to, followed by a pat on the back, rather than suspensions, detentions, or any other meaningful punishment.’
    • ‘The new ‘headmaster’ of the Church of England gave his ‘squabbling pupils’ a stern talking-to yesterday, calling for unity - and won plaudits for his troubles.’
    reprimand, lecture, rebuke, scolding, reproof, reproach, rap on the knuckles, slap on the wrists, chiding, remonstration, upbraiding, berating, castigation, tirade, diatribe, admonition, admonishment, lambasting, censure, criticism, obloquy
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/ˈtɔkɪŋ ˌtu//ˈtôkiNG ˌto͞o/